October is all about breasts


I have an aversion to pink.

No, not P!nk. She’s yummy. I have an aversion to the color pink. I have never been fond of pink, despite my mother’s efforts to dress me up in pink snowsuits and pink flowery dresses when I was a child. I’ve dealt with the trauma in therapy. But for the month of October, I will wear pink proudly. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Many of us have been touched in some way by the perils of breast cancer. We’ve certainly watched some of our fictional friends struggle with breast cancer. I still haven’t gotten over Dana’s losing battle with the disease on The L Word.

We’ve been reminded to get those mammograms by plenty of celebrities and the characters they portray. On this week’s episode of Weeds, for example, Nancy Botwin (Mary Loiuse Parker) went in for her regular mammogram.

The reminders are everywhere. Lifetimetv.com has a special section devoted to awareness, screening and prevention. Their campaign motto? “Be my support. Be my strength. Be my bra.” I wonder whose bra they want me to be. I can think of several people for whom I would volunteer my services in such a capacity.

We’ve watched some of our favorite celebrities battle the disease with dignity and grace. Melissa Etheridge fought and won. So did Edie Falco. Others have battled and lost, including Dusty Springfield and Julia Darling.

But the battles that affect us the most are the ones that hit closest to home. We feel the impact of this disease more directly when it is attached to our friends, our families, or our partners. Trust me. I know. My partner of seven years just won her battle, though if you call her a survivor she will scoff at you. The cancer was caught so early on that they call it Stage 0. She went through radiation but escaped the misery of chemotherapy. And today, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (at least it’s in honor of that in my world) she got her official clean bill of health.

Why am I telling you this? Because we all need to be reminded on occasion. We all know that we need to get those mammograms. We all know it, but we don’t always do what we know we should. My partner does not fall into a “high risk” category, nor is she over 40, which is the recommended starting age for yearly mammograms. But she’s lost a cousin and an aunt to breast cancer and decided long ago that she would start her regular screenings at 35. This decision likely saved her life. Had we waited another 5 years to start that annual screening, we would have been engaged in an entirely different battle. So ladies, go get those breasts poked, prodded and squeezed. And tell the women in your life to do the same.

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